I'll give the Reds this. They've won 8 of their last 12 games. Before that, they were 3-22. Now they're 11-26. That's...better. Not terrific, not playoff-quality, but better than they were.
A few things happened in the last 12 games. For one thing, Hunter Greene no-hit the Pirates, Art Warren walked a guy home and nobody on the Reds could score a run. Additionally, people who know how to start games came up; Connor Overton has been the best of the rookie call-ups so far, with a 1.82 ERA in 4 starts, and Luis Castillo, while still not great, knows how to make himself look good statistically even if he gets lit up.
The Reds have also emphasized the players nobody thought anything of who are playing incredibly. Alexis Diaz has been lights out in relief, the Reds are flirting with making him the closer. Brandon Drury was hitting well off the bench, the Reds have given him the starting 2B gig and have moved Moustakas to a DH-3B role. Colin Moran had a hot series a week ago, he's DHing more. And cheap-pickups like Moran and Drury lead the team in RBIs with 21 and 22 respectively. Tommy Pham isn't doing too bad either, though he's nowhere near Cardinals/Rays numbers.
And the Reds have also made sure that the homegrown talent that they do have left isn't going to get poached immediately. Of the original starters intact, the one having the best season is Tyler Stephenson, who is hitting .329, has 20 RBIs, and is proving what happens when the Reds start him everyday instead of stagnate him with Tucker Barnhart or Curt Casali. Some of the other hangers-on, like Moose and Naquin, are doing alright, but not great.
Otherwise, the Reds have become a revolving door for talent not good enough for most other rosters. Albert Almora, Matt Reynolds, Aramis Garcia and Hunter Strickland have crucial roles with this team. J.T. Riddle, Robert Dugger, Buck Farmer and, ultimately, 2019 hero Aristedes Aquino, have failed to make enough of an impact to stick around. And when you're not good enough for the 2022 Reds...oh my.
I hope the rest of the Reds' season works like this May stretch. A good run of wins here and there, not a ton of bloodloss, heroes and guys that get the job done. I'd hate for it to be all depressing stuff for them.
Coming Tonight: One of the few 2021 starters left in Oakland.
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